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La isla mínima (2014)
True detective - first season - in Spain
The similarities with the American TV series are embarrassing, I am surprised only one of the above reviews has mentioned it.
The director should have put the TV series in the credits!
This film sounds like a Spanish version of the first season of True Detective, as two moustached cops are investigating a bunch of murder-rapes of young women in a rice paddies area in north of Spain (Andalucía).
Like in True detective season the little town is surrounded by wetlands of corruption and insanity.
Even the supernatural - magic elements are copied.
The story is highly predictable and conventional.
The difference - beside the Country - is the period: here we are in 1980, with Spain in transition between fascism and democracy - with the characters deeply involved in the change.
The director his trying is best to hide the similarities - like the use of drone shot.
But even the finale remind us of the series True detective first season
Enjoyable though - just like the series.
Anime nere (2014)
A real life Godfather
Last Saturday I went to see "Anime nere" at the London Film Festival with great expectation. In fact in August I had read a very positive review on La Repubblica newspaper. I must say it met completely my expectations, the movie is very well done, convincing and the light, the light is absolutely sublime. I like all the actors performances. The director told us, after the projection, that they were a mix of professional and not professional ones (very difficult to distinguish for the high quality of their performances). The plot is very intense, but not in a bad way. The most disturbing scenes are not shown on screen, but left to the audience imagination. The movie is set in a rural village in Calabria, south of Italy, where the three brothers were born and where Luciano, the elder, is still living with his family. The two younger brothers, instead, had moved to Milan in the north of Italy few years back.
Highly recommended, a potential candidate to next year foreign Grammy awards!!
The Paperboy (2012)
A proof of courage
This movie has the power to make you feel uncomfortable watching it.
In fact all the characters in the movie have an hidden agenda and disturbing behaviours.
It reminded me Blue Velvet by David Lynch.
The set and the soundtrack are perfect, really recreating the late 60s atmospheres.
The characters are excellently played - Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, Macy Gray and Matthew McConaughey especially.
I also appreciated the courage of Nicole Kidman and Matthiew McConaughey in taking difficult roles, distant from what their fan base are usually expecting.
Highly recommended if you're not easily disturbed.
La grande bellezza (2013)
Italian cinema at its best
I had to go to see this movie twice in a row as the first time was not enough: I was literally overwhelmed by it like the Japanese tourist at the beginning of the movie.
The movie is about Rome, about true love, about decadence, about difficulty of communicating, about values.
But the most important subject is life itself and how to live without having regrets.
Many word have been spent about Sorrentino talent, so I am not going to talk about it: he is without doubts one of the most talented directors alive (and surely the best Italian).
The great beauty is well written, dialogues are intelligent and philosophic, really good food for thoughts.
The character are perfectly described and very, very well played (Toni Servillo is not a surprise because we knew him from The consequences of love and Il divo), but other actors like Sabrina Ferilli and Carlo Verdone, they have been a nice discover indeed.
You will leave the theatre with the awareness you have seen a masterpiece.
This is the real England....
Seeing "Tyrannosaur" is an experiment of life: the reality described is not so different from the everyday life of many of us.
Mr. Considine is able to realise, thanks to a perfect script and superb actors, a small masterpiece and a perfect debut.
The story set in a Leeds of charity shops and pubs, tells the anger, frustration, domestic violence, so common in this early-century England.
Over time we learn that the request for aid between the main characters becomes mutual, up to a finale as unexpected as disturbing.
Well done to everyone, but honour to Peter Mullan about holding the entire film with a surprising force and fragility.
Le quattro volte (2010)
Nature and Pythagoras: a perfect match
I went to see this movie at Renoir-Curzon in central London last bank Monday.
I was with two friends of mine: another Calabrian and a Sicilian. I invited them telling the movie was shot in Calabria, but I was worried the plot wouldn't interest them.
I was wrong, this movie astonished the three of us completely: I was not only fascinated by the beautiful views of the Calabrian countryside, but the idea of mixing philosophic concepts with very basic, rural and remote communities still sticks in my mind.
"Le quattro volte" means "the four times" and the movie gives an interpretation of Pythagoras (who taught and settled in Calabria in the 6th century BC) concept of four successive lives that each of us holds: mineral, vegetable, animal and human.
In the movie there are all the elements of this concept shown in a very poetic and amusing way: we have an old goatherd as human, a kidskin as animal, a tree as vegetable and coal (carbon) as mineral. All connected in a cycle of life and death to symbolise the re-incarnation.
The sound of nature and rural human activities is the soundtrack of the movie, it makes us understand we, as human beings, are not at the centre of the universe, we should be aware of the elements we are part of and live in harmony with them.
All this makes Le Quattro volte an absolute masterpiece: 10/10
Battle Los Angeles (2011)
Battle of Ego vs. Evil
I expected a Sci-fi movie, but I found a hybrid between a video game commercial and an US Marine propaganda.
The movie is filled of war rhetoric: lines like "Marines don't quit" or "you are the best marine I ever met" towards a 9 years old child make me sick and really worried about the future of Hollywood cinematography in the USA.
If I wanted to see a war movie I surely would choose a documentary as "Restrepo" which tells me the real story the US soldiers are living on their skins.
In Battle LA for the first hour we, as audience, are following three hours in the movie, and the time goes really, really slow. The realistic gunshots noise is unbearable; I thought I was watching someone else playing a video game in Dolby surround.
Even the worst Rambo was better than this; at least there you expected to see bad acting in a cold war environment, but here with good actors as Aaron Eckart (who recentely delivered a good performance in "Rabbit hole") and Michelle Rodriguez (very good in "Avatar")you expected something more.
My question is: have the US Marines recruitment issues? There aren't enough joiners so they need movies like this??
Advice: don't waste your time with this movie, you would regret and I hate to say: "I told you"!!
Ask Tesadüfleri Sever (2011)
Love likes too many coincidences
I saw this movie yesterday in London. The main pleasure I took from it was to see that Mehmet Günsür has become a very good actor.
I have seen him last time in an Ozpetek's movie called "Hamam-The Turkish bath" in 1997, he was very young at that time, but I remember he showed a very good performance even there in a supporter role (Alessandro Gassman was the lead character).
Going back to Ask Tesadufleri Sever, the translation of the title in English should be "Love likes coincidences" and I must say the writers went a little bit too far with the coincidences stuff making the plot too unrealistic and sometimes ridicule.
And that is a shame because the good acting (Günsür, Yigit Özsener and the actress who plays Günsür mother) and the beautiful locations of both Ankara and Istanbul could make this movie a little pearl to compete with international titles.
Worthy to be watched for the good acting and for Ankara's and Istanbul's views, but be prepared to the disappointing and sometime painful script.
Black Swan (2010)
Intoxicating and disturbing, bravo!
I am just back from the movie theatre where I saw the UK advanced screening of Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan (it will be released nationwide on January 21st).
The movie opens with the main character Nina who dances alone on a dark stage of what it seems to be a ballet company theatre and since this very first scene we, as audience, are captivated by her obsessive, and at the same time intoxicating movements.
Parallels between Black Swan and The Wrestler are unavoidable, even if here the fragility of mind is the main issue Nina is facing while Rourke's Randy "The Ram" Robinson fought the off age passion for the ring.
Jealousy and fear to lose her life awaited lead role in the Swan Lake ballet are not the only reasons which make Nina's life so difficult. We also have pressures from a way too domineering mother (Barbara Hershley) and advices from a way too pushy choreographer (Vincent Cassel) who believes she can deliver the "White Swan", but is too frigid to play the "Black Swan".
Nina's obsession with perfection will take her to a horrific and complete identification with the role she is playing in the Swan Lake, which is in many cases disturbing.
Aronofsky's talented style which introduces thriller and even horror elements in a so complicated drama, pulls the best out of his actors and as Rourke and Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler also here we have a bunch of talented actors who are showing magnificent performances: first of all Portman (she dances for real), but also Cassel, Hersley, Kunis and Wynona Ryder.
A must see, highly recommended!
Henry's Crime (2010)
Tender and intelligent
I went to see this movie yesterday and I have been positively surprised.
Keanu Reeves has given a great performance as Henry, the main character. The chemistry between Reeves and his counterparts (Vera Farmiga and James Caan) was really good and palpable.
The story was convincing, well written and from start to finish I actually believed in what was happening on the screen. Vera Farmiga, who plays the female lead character, is superb, credible and bitter enough to give convincing diva acting in the Checov's Cherry orchard play, which is crucial for the dynamic development of the movie itself.
I left the theatre thinking I wanted to see it again.